NEW DELHI: Last week the Supreme Court signalled its displeasure at electoral handouts or freebies. It has since ordered the setting up of a high-powered panel to set out a blueprint to nix what it believes is a drain on scarce national resources.
Simultaneously PM Narendra Modi broke ranks with fellow politicians and called for an end to the freebie menace in a stump speech.
Consequently, the subsidy regime is under unprecedented scrutiny.
At one level this is a sign of the maturing of India that it is willing to not just discuss subsidies, but also whether they should be weeded out. Previously, the outrage would have forced a quick retreat with electoral consequences.
At the same time there is a realisation that all subsidies are not freebies. But then how do you draw a line? Can India wade through an otherwise binary discourse to discuss this vexing issue threadbare?